Crystal Robinson Should Replace Brian Agler As the Wings Head Coach

In a surprising move, the Dallas Wings have mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Brian Agler today, the team announced. Agler has coached the Wings over the last two seasons.

ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel reported that “Agler says he and the organization have “different philosophies” on how to get to championship level.”

It sounds like Agler and the Wings’ front office had different ideas on how they should go about handling this offseason, so Agler is out.

Now that the Wings need a head coach, they don’t need to look that far to find someone who is qualified to lead a WNBA coaching staff. Currently employed by the Wings, assistant coach Crystal Robinson should take over as head coach in Dallas.

There genuinely are very few people in the WNBA more qualified to take over than Crystal Robinson, who has over 25 years of basketball experience. Robinson played in the WNBA from 1999-2007 with the New York Liberty and Washington Mystics.

Right after retirement, Robinson joined the Mystics coaching staff for the 2008 season. She spent the next decade coaching at the high school and college levels, spending time as both an assistant and head coach.

In 2018, Robinson joined the Seattle Storm’s coaching staff and promptly won a WNBA championship. She left the Storm to join the Dallas Wings in 2019 and has been an assistant coach under Brian Agler the past two seasons.

Robinson has three years of assistant coaching experience in the WNBA (the same as Walt Hopkins Jr. who was hired to be the Liberty’s head coach this year) and a decade of experience coaching in college and high school. Robinson’s fifteen seasons coaching basketball makes her more than qualified to be a head coach in the WNBA.

Her experience playing in the WNBA is also something that makes her candidacy stand out. Robinson has been in the player’s shoes before, she knows what it’s like to play in the WNBA and has been through the rigors of the league. Only one head coach in the league is a former WNBA player (Sandy Brondello), which seems like way too low of a number.

The WNBA should do a better job of hiring their players into coaching positions of power. The experience of playing in the league is something that should be valued when making a coaching hire, yet the WNBA seems to not consider that a factor at all.

Another advantage that Robinson has over other head coach candidates is that Robinson has spent two years in the Wings organization and knows the players on the roster. She’s already familiar with Dallas and the organization and would not need to learn a completely new franchise. The Wings players are already comfortable with Robinson and have been coached by her.

Arike Ogunbowale said it best about Robinson at a media availability earlier this season:

“She helps everybody with everything. She is a great shooting coach, a great basketball coach. She has a great basketball mind. She’s been in our position. She’s played in the WNBA for years, been in WNBA championships, like done all that. She knows basketball, been overseas, so we can relate to her really really well. She loves us, she supports us with everything, always has our back. As I said, she’s one of the smartest basketball minds I’ve known and she’s hilarious, she really helps the team a lot, just her energy and everything she brings to life. We wouldn’t have as much fun if Crystal wasn’t on the coaching staff.”

If this all doesn’t convince you that Robinson should become the Wings next head coach, the fact that there are zero black women coaching in the WNBA is a huge disgrace to the league and should be fixed. In a league that is predominately black women, how is it that all twelve teams managed to not hire a black woman head coach? After 23-years of WNBA history, there is not one black woman would could be a head coach in the league right now?

It’s a horrible look for the league to not have any black women head coaches, and Robinson is more than qualified. With the Dallas Wings coaching spot available, I hope that the team gives Crystal the chance that she has earned to become a head coach in the WNBA.

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For more thoughts and opinions from Zachary Diamond, check out his author page or Twitter.

(photo credit: Seattle Storm Twitter)

One response to “Crystal Robinson Should Replace Brian Agler As the Wings Head Coach

  1. Sometimes when a head coach goes the organization wants to start over fresh. Brian didn’t really know what to do with his roster or rotations as they made no sense most of time. He’s used to chasing championships not a complete rebuild and it showed in Dallas. It is important to find the “best” person and fit for the organization regardless of whether they are white, black, brown, etc. Maybe Crystal Robinson is the the best person but they need to determine who else is out there too and not hire her just because she is black, or hire some one else because they are white. I think too many organizations treat their open positions like this and end up setting themselves back years.

    The league has had a minimum of 17 black womens head coaches since its inception, I think the great Cheryl Miller in Phoenix was the first one. A lot of former players, of all races, are currently working their way up the assistant coaching ranks which is encouraging and will lead to a greater pool of candidates in the near future, if not right now. I also love to see Kristi Toliver in the NBA coaching and I don’t think she is the only female coaching in the NBA or NCAAM.

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